JAPAN’S FM KANIKAWA’S VISIT TO NEPAL: Strengthening Friendship

Ms. KAMIKAWA, Japan's Foreign Minister, commenced her recent official tours from the iconic Mt. Fuji. As a fitting conclusion to her extensive journey across Africa and South Asia, she opted for Nepal, a nation renowned for its awe-inspiring Himalayas. On her first journey to the land of Mount Everest, she immersed herself in the local culture by visiting heritage sites and bookstores, observing the deep and lasting bonds between people.

May 13, 2024, 11:04 a.m. Published in Magazine Issue: VOL. 17, No. 19, May.10,2024 (Baishak,28. 2081) Publisher and Editor: Keshab Prasad Poudel Online Register Number: DOI 584/074-75

Ms. KAMIKAWA Yoko, Japan's Foreign Minister, successfully completed her first official visit to Nepal. After arriving from Sri Lanka, a country surrounded by the sea, she was warmly welcomed by the majestic Himalayas, which had been hidden by haze for a few days.

Upon bidding farewell to Nepal late at night, the Himalayas were veiled in darkness, only to be greeted by the iconic Mount Fuji in Tokyo the next morning. Ms. KAMIKAWA, the Foreign Minister, opted for a Nepal Airlines Regular Schedule flight to return home, thereby enhancing the reputation of Nepal's national flag carrier.

It was a striking coincidence that Ms. KAMIKAWA's official visit took her from the Indian Ocean to the Himalayas, eventually leading her to the homeland of Mount Fuji.

In an article published in Gorkhapatra, national Nepali daily, the minister expressed her sentiments towards Nepal, mentioning the majestic Himalayan mountains and Mount Everest, which immediately come to mind when thinking of the country. Coming from Shizuoka province, located at the foot of Mount Fuji in Japan, Nepal holds a special place in her heart, and she is thrilled to have visited the country for the first time.

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During her brief yet eventful stay in Nepal, she engaged in numerous high-level meetings with government officials, including President Ram Chandra Poudel, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda, and Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Narayan Kazi Shrestha.

Minister KAMIKAWA also held bilateral talks with DPM Shrestha and took the time to visit Bashantapur Palaces, Mandala book store strolling through the streets and waving to the people along the way, despite the deteriorating air quality in the valley.

During her visit, Japanese Foreign Minister KAMIKAWA engaged in discussions covering a wide range of topics with her Nepalese counterpart, mirroring her journey from the depths of the sea to the heights of the mountains.

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Foreign Ministerial Talks

According to a press release issued by Japanese Embassy to Nepal, Japan-Nepal Foreign Minister’s Meeting lasted for approximately 60 minutes.

Ms. KAMIKAWA Yoko, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan held a bilateral meeting with Shrestha, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nepal.

According to a press release the overview is as follows:

At the outset, Foreign Minister Shrestha expressed his welcome to Minister Kamikawa's visit to Nepal, and stated that he would like to further strengthen the relationship between the two countries through this visit.

In response, Minister Kamikawa congratulated Foreign Minister Shrestha on his inauguration and stated that she welcomes the longstanding cordial relations between the two countries and expressed her hope to further broaden and strengthen the relations through this visit.

The two Ministers held a candid exchange of views on regional affairs, including the situation in East Asia and South Asia, and concurred on maintaining close communication between the two countries.

The two Ministers also exchanged views on global issues, where Minister Kamikawa stated that the concept of Women, Peace and Security (WPS) is becoming ever more important amidst the increasing uncertainty in the international community, and that Japan would like to further strengthen cooperation in the area of WPS in the future.

In response, Minister Shrestha stated that Nepal would like to maintain cooperation on global issues including WPS. The two Ministers also held a candid exchange of views on global issues including strengthening of the functions of the UN, including the Security Council reform, the rule of law, and nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation.

Japan-Nepal Foreign Minister’s Working Dinner

Following the bilateral meeting held in the afternoon, Ms. KAMIKAWA Yoko, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, who is visiting Nepal, attended a working dinner hosted by Shrestha, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nepal.

The overview is as follows. 1 Minister Shrestha, referring to the longstanding friendship between Japan and Nepal, expressed his desire to develop the bilateral relations toward the year 2026 when the two countries will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. Minister Kamikawa expressed her desire to further enhance understanding of Nepal through this visit.

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Minister Shrestha expressed his gratitude to Japan’s assistance over the years, and stated that Nepal would like to further strengthen practical cooperation with Japan. Minister Kamikawa stated that Japan would like to work together for the development of Nepal and for the peace, stability, and prosperity in the region through practical cooperation.

Minister Kamikawa also touched upon the wide range of cooperation that Japan has provided to Nepal over the years, including the Nagdhunga tunnel, a yen loan construction project which the breakthrough has been achieved in April, and stated that Japan would continue to cooperate with Nepal for its sustainable development as the country aims for graduation from the Least Developed Country (LDC) in 2026.

The two Ministers concurred on cooperating to further promote mutual understanding and friendly bilateral relations through the establishment of a preparatory committee in both countries to consider initiatives befitting the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations in 2026, as well as the “Human Resources Development Scholarship Program” (JDS), a grant aid program for training young administrative officials. The two Ministers also concurred on promoting people -to people exchanges through Specified Skilled Workers and tourism.

Courtesy Call on President Paudel

Ms. KAMIKAWA Yoko, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, who is visiting Nepal, paid a courtesy call on Ramchandra Paudel, President of Nepal.

The overview is as follows. 1 At the outset, President Paudel expressed his welcome to Minister Kamikawa's visit to Nepal.

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President Paudel then referred to the article on local newspaper contributed by Minister Kamikawa and to the longstanding friendly relations between the two countries, and he once again expressed his appreciation for receiving the decoration of the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun.

In response, Minister Kamikawa expressed her gratitude for President Paudel’s message of sympathy for the damage caused by the Noto Peninsula Earthquake, and stated that she was honored to meet President Paudel, who has long supported people-to-people exchanges between Japan and Nepal as the Chairman of the Nepal-Japan Parliamentary Friendship Leaugue.

Minister Kamikawa also stated that she would like to continue to cooperate with President Paudel to further solidify the bilateral relations toward the year 2026 when the two countries will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations.

Minister Kamikawa touched upon the wide range of cooperation that Japan has provided to Nepal over the years and stated that Japan would continue to cooperate with Nepal for its sustainable development as the country aims for graduation from the Least Developed Country (LDC) by 2026. In response, Prime Minister Paudel expressed his gratitude to Japan’s assistance over the years. 3 The two sides also exchanged views on climate change.

Courtesy Call on Prime Minister Dahal

Ms. KAMIKAWA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, who is visiting Nepal, paid a courtesy call on Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Prime Minister of Nepal. The overview is as follows.

At the outset, Prime Minister Dahal expressed his welcome to Minister Kamikawa's visit to Nepal. In response, Minister Kamikawa expressed her gratitude for Prime Minister Dahal’s message of sympathy for the damage caused by the Noto Peninsula Earthquake.

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Prime Minister Dahal stated that he welcomes the steady progress of the bilateral relations through fruitful people to people exchanges, as evidenced by over 170,000 Nepalis, including many exchange students, living in Japan.

Minister Kamikawa stated that she is pleased to see that the two countries have maintained cordial and friendly relations ever since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1956.

Minister Kamikawa also stated that Nepal's sustainable development contributes to the stability of the region and that Japan would continue to cooperate in Nepal's efforts for sustainable development through development cooperation such as the "Nagdhunga Tunnel Construction Project," a yen loan. In response, Prime Minister Dahal expressed his gratitude. 3 The two sides held a candid exchange of views on regional affairs and concurred on deepening cooperation between the two countries.

The meeting lasted for 30 minutes.

In connection with the visit to Nepal by Ms. KAMIKAWA Yoko, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, Ms. KANEKO Mariko, Press Secretary/Director-General for Press & Public Diplomacy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, interacted with selected media.

“During her official visit to Nepal, Japanese Foreign Minister Ms. KAMIKAWA emphasized the longstanding cordial relationship between Nepal and Japan,” said Kaneko to the media.

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She said that Japanese foreign minister KAMIKAWA expressed her commitment to strengthening the problem-free friendly relationship between the two countries in the future, particularly in terms of economic development.

In her briefing to media, Ms. KANEKO Mariko said that Japanese foreign minister held bilateral talks with Nepal’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Shrestha at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She said that the discussions focused on further elevating Nepal-Japan relations and enhancing bilateral cooperation.

After a successful visit, Ms. KAMIKAWA departed from Kathmandu to Tokyo on a scheduled flight by Nepal Airlines Corporation. She was bid farewell by Foreign Secretary Ms. Sewa Lamsal at the VIP Lounge in Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu.

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The Nepalese ambassador to Japan, Dr. Durga Bahadur Subedi, the Ambassador of Japan to Nepal, Kikuta Yukata, and other officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were also present at the airport. This official visit took place at the invitation of Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha.

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Ms. KANEKO Mariko

Japanese Foreign minister assured Nepal that Japan will supportNepal in LDC graduation. Surrounded by India and China, Nepal, a landlocked country, will graduate from the LDC status in 2026.

“Japan has been a long standing major donor and enjoys a high level of trust from the Nepalese side. History of deep rooted people to people exchanges, the visit is a highly important. Since 2026 will also mark the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, the year will be more meaningful,” said Ms. KANEKO Mariko.

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